Lyon College considers repairs to historic home after arson

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – As police and fire investigators look into what caused a historic home at Lyon College to catch fire earlier this week, the school is now considering how to repair the damage.

A preliminary estimate shows that the Grigsby House suffered about $8,000 in damages due to a fire set intentionally, and the investigation is ongoing.

Instead of its weathered fence, the building is now surrounded by police tape.

"The call came into me about 12:05 early Monday morning from my security officer," said Jade Anderson, the facilities director at Lyon College,  "saying that the Grigsby House is on fire."

Anderson says two students first spotted the blaze while walking late Sunday night.

"Basically, there were flames coming out of the side of the building, coming out from the roof."

Anderson says the local fire department worked quickly and extinguished the fire but not before the flames had damaged parts of the 145-year-old log home.

"It looks like there was some kind of accelerant put up the walls and along the door," Anderson said, responding to a question about how it appears the fire started, "and the fire was lit on that accelerant."

The suspected arson at the Grigsy House comes two years after a suspicious fire was set in a nearby building on the Lyon College campus, but the fire that destroyed the old Edwards Commons student center appears to unrelated to this latest incident.

Anderson says the school is handling this seemingly random crime seriously, but assures students and parents that they have little reason to worry about campus safety.

The next step is to move forward, something Lyon College knows how to do.

The college debuted its new student center this school year after raising enough money to rebuild it.

"It (the Grigsby House) is an important building on campus," Anderson said. "We like to keep those in good condition, so we'll establish some kind of plan to restore it as best we can."

The Independence County Sheriff's Office has taken over the investigation but has yet to name any suspects in this act of arson.

To report any information on this crime, contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 870-793-8878.

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